The Ipswich SuperSprint began with team owner/ co-driver Jonathon Webb nabbing some valuable seat time in the #97 Darrell Lea STIX Commodore in preparation for the Pirtek Enduro Cup that kicks off in September at the Sandown 500. Webb completed 18 laps before handing the pilot duties over to Shane van Gisbergen. The pair finished third in the 2014 Pirtek Enduro Cup which eventually saw van Gisbergen finish second in the overall standings.
Saturday’s race 18 saw the #97 start out of position six which proved to be one of the most exciting sprint races of the year following an epic race long battle with Mostert as van Gisbergen enjoyed going toe-to-toe and door-to-door with Lowndes for most of the final lap.
“[Lowndes] just had a bit better tyres and he was quite good on the outside clean line under brakes, and I didn’t want to run him off the track, I stayed as clean as I could and he pulled a good pass,” said van Gisbergen who finished fourth.
“All my tyres were gone! Awesome race. Some of these Sprint races have been pretty average so it was good to be up at the pointy end! I did all I could to hold him off and had no car left. Good fun.”
With tyre degredation proving an issue on the hard tyres, van Gisbergen was uncertain how he will be able to manage the softer compound tyre in the next 60-kilometer sprint.
Race 19 was an uphill battle starting from 23rd on the grid, but unfortunately also a battle Team Darrell Lea STIX didn’t get the chance to fight due to a split gearbox case on the grid, van Gisbergen’s first retirement since October, 2013.
The bizarre gearbox failure which the team had not experienced before proved to be costly with minimal soft tyre running as the #97 struggled for pace finishing 21st in race 20. TEKNO will undergo an in-house debrief at its Stapylton workshop on Tuesday before joining technical partner Triple Eight Engineering for further post-event analysis later in the week.
Team Darrell Lea STIX heads to Sydney Motorsport Park, 21-23 August. Shane van Gisbergen is currently 9th in the V8 Supercar Championship Series.